Mt. Fuji…An Uphill Battle

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One of the most physically challenging things I’ve ever done in my life was climb Mt. Fuji. Sure, I’m in pretty good shape, I eat right (most of the time) I exercise every now and then, and I’ve gone hiking numerous times. But nothing I’ve done up to this point could have ever prepared me for Mt. Fuji.

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It was worth it, but it was grueling. The weather was unpredictable. One minute its nice and warm, then it starts to get cooler, and colder, and you look up and it’s snowing! I went from wearing shorts and a t-shirt, to two pairs of pants, three pairs of socks, a scarf, gloves, and five coats. Do you think I’m kidding? Behold the puffiness for yourself:

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It was freezing cold, but because we were hiking for hours and hours, I had sweat through about three of the five coats I was wearing. It was really tough. Sometimes the path was flat and easy enough to tread, but other times it was very steep. There were small steps, and giant steps. At one point we were climbing almost completely vertically up the side of the mountain. By the time we got to the 8th station, we were all exhausted. The 8th station is the final station right before the top of the mountain. It’s a place where you can use the bathroom (for a hefty fee of 200円 (two bucks!)) Grab a bottle of water ( for 500円 (5 bucks!) eat, and rest up. But if you were planning to climb the rest of the way up, don’t plan on getting more than a four hour rest.

I was in the bed by 10pm, but set my alarm for 2am in order to finish the hike before sunrise. The whole night I was plagued by dreams of me falling off the edge of the mountain, so when I actually did wake up I heavily debated whether I wanted to finish the hike or not. But something inside me gave me the strength to do it. We had hiked for over five hours to get to that point, and only two more hours separated me from the top of the mountain. I was so close…how could I stop now?

So I gathered up all the strength and will-power I could muster, and finished the rest of the hike. Here is a photo of me at the very, tippy top:

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I think that I learned about 100 different life lessons from that hike. Don’t doubt yourself, believe in your friends, nothing is impossible, mind over matter, etc etc. Mt. Fuji is definitely not for the weak of heart, you must have extreme will power and a strong desire to make it to the top. About half of the people in our group decided to stay at the 8th station instead of going all the way, because it was just too difficult. I came to climb the Mt. with a friend, and even she didn’t make it all the way up.

I was moving on will power alone, because my body was tired, sore, and completely out of steam. I often wonder how I was actually able to do it. But one thing is for sure, it is something I can check off my life’s ‘to do’ list. Climb to the top of Mt. Fuji? Done, and done.

One more thing….the view from the top is astounding. You can watch youtube videos of other people completing the climb, you can look at pictures, you can dream about it, but nothing compares to actually seeing it was your own eyes. Nothing can rival watching as the sun begins to peek over the clouds, painting the sky fluorescent blues, purples, and orange. Of course, you can watch a sunrise from just about anywhere: on tv, from your rooftop, at your grandmother’s house. But Mt. FUji isn’t just “anywhere.”

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